This post was originally shared for McKinney & Associates’ blog and newsletter, where I was employed at the time. You may find it here.
What’s a good way to stand up for something you believe in? Well, if you ask NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, don’t! The QB for the San Francisco 49ers has been bringing attention to social and racial injustice in America by not standing for the National Anthem before games. Since Kaepernick’s actions caught the attention of media in late August, more NFL players have taken similar stands (or seats) with every passing week during the season. The move has even inspired U.S. Women’s National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe to kneel before the anthem during recent matches. And, this week Missouri state senator Jamilah Nasheed declined to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in support of Kaepernick.
People admire those who are courageous enough to stand for something they believe in. It’s why McKinney & Associates has been successful at taking on the bullies and helping clients find their voice. Over the years, the agency has found three common characteristics among clients who have found their voice. Here’s what they have in common with Kaepernick’s actions:
- Courage: Kaepernick chose an interesting time to take his “stand.” Since taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, his performance has declined to the point where NFL experts were debating if the team should trade him or keep him as a second string player. Even with his playing time and career on the line, Kaepernick is displaying courage by expressing his disapproval for the nation’s actions.
- Compelling: Being an athlete in the nation’s most popular professional sports league is one thing; playing for one of that league’s marquee franchises is another. Kaepernick isn’t just compelling because of the stance he’s taking against the nation’s issue; he’s compelling because he was once of the league’s best QBs en route to almost winning a championship.
- Conviction: Despite the harsh wave of criticism he’s received, Kaepernick is displaying conviction even through adversity. He has continued to speak with media at their request and has provided thorough explanations for his actions. This conviction may have earned Kaepernick many detractors, but it has also revealed a fair share of reports.
Malcolm X famously exclaimed, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” By taking a stand by sitting down, Kaepernick and others are refusing to fall for the belief that America has upheld its promises to the people it’s meant to serve. Amidst the criticism he’s received, Kaepernick has been successful in stirring up conversations around racial and social justice; and a Black American didn’t have to be murdered at the hands of law enforcement in order to do so.